Sprint Triathlon Tips

Regardless how experienced you may be in the triathlon, tips will help you improve. With three sports, two transition areas, nutritional concerns and equipment and gear needs, it's no wonder so many books, magazines, and websites have popped up for age-groupers. Put triathletes in a room together, and the sharing of information is endless.

Practice Your Transitions

During a triathlon, athletes must change their gear and equipment between the swim and the bike legs and again between the bike and the run. Transitions are as important to triathletes as pit stops are to race car drivers: They provide an easy way to gain time on your competition without much physical effort. Triathlon coaches and professionals suggest including transition sessions into your workouts. Removing your wetsuit quickly, getting on or off your bike while moving and strong organizational skills are some of the bigger time savers.

Race Specific Training

Realistic training counts in triathlon and pays dividends on race day. Begin with the race distance; do not train for Olympic distance racing, requiring more endurance, if you're short-course racing such as a sprint distance race, requiring more speed. If your swim will take place in a lake, training in the ocean will be beneficial; the ocean provides more buoyancy than does a lake. If your race will be in hot weather, include some midday bike and run sessions.

Brick Training

So-called brick training combines two events in your training, the most common being the bike to the run. The training allows you to experience how your body will likely feel during the race, helping you to anticipate and adapt. Many first-time triathletes do not replicate this in training and are surprised they cannot run properly. Triathlon coaches suggest including this training in your final block of training leading up to your race. More experienced triathletes will add them to their training as needed.

Training During Race Week

Many triathletes make the mistake of trying to improve their fitness the week of the race. Experienced triathletes know that training during the week of their race will not make them more physically fit, faster or stronger -- rather, the opposite is true. Reduce your triathlon training by 30 percent. A sample of your training during race week may include short-race pace efforts Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday while taking Thursday and Saturday off.

About the Author

Gregg Seltzer is a freelance writer and photographer based in Chino, Calif. He brings a professional approach to each new project, specializing in general subjects and health and fitness issues.